When and where did you complete your practicum?
I completed my practicum at Public Health Ontario, within the Infection Prevention and Control Department during the summer of 2019.
What are your academic/research interests?
My areas of academic and research interest are in infection prevention and control. My interests stem from working as a public health nurse in communicable disease control. As an epidemiologist in training, I hope to be part of the scientific process that generates evidence to support practice and guidelines to improve patient safety.
What are your career goals, and did your practicum experience change them in any way?
My career goal is to integrate research into practice. The goal of my Master’s program was to learn about the scientific process and how data is transformed into something meaningful to inform public health practice. From my practicum experience, I learned to transition from a knowledge user to a knowledge generator.
What were your primary responsibilities at your agency?
At Public Health Ontario, I worked with the Infection Prevention and Control team to summarize the first year of surveillance data, one year after mandatory reporting for carbapenemase-producing enterobacteriaceae (CPE).
What was most rewarding about your practicum experience?
What was most rewarding about my experience was that I was analyzing data and creating a surveillance report that would directly impact not only my work as a professional in public health but also stakeholders including hospitals and long-term-care facilities. Outside of my project I was engaged in all of the summer student activities and learned to work with a multidisciplinary team including biostatisticians, physicians and GIS specialists.
What advice would you offer a prospective student who is considering an opportunity with your practicum site?
Take advantage of being a student! Network with people both within and outside your department, including fellow students, who may one day, be your colleagues. Take every opportunity to learn, be humble and curious about the breadth of topics in public health.
What was the most valuable lesson you learned during your practicum experience?
Public health is teamwork! Share your ideas, be open to constructive criticism and recognize the challenges and limitations of working within your jurisdiction.